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McGregor is driving force for Coleraine

Who's going to stop Coleraine? There’s five words not even their most loyal player/supporter expected to be reading this season.

But, not only have they won their first three matches the victims have been Donemana, the Senior Cup holders, Strabane, the joint league champions and Clontarf, last year’s double winners in Leinster.

This weekend, though, the team that finished bottom of North West Senior League One last season will be under pressure because, for the first time, they are expected to win. A home game against Fox Lodge is followed on Sunday by a trip across the border to St Johnston, last year’s Senior Two champions and victories in both games will leave them top of the league on their own.

The Bannsiders failed to defend 236 at Ballymagorry last year, but won the home game against the Foxes last season, thanks to Mohammad Salman’s undefeated 84 and 62 not out from Tim Chopra.

Encouragingly for Coleraine, Salman, who also scored 98 in the away game, has scored 165 runs without being dismissed in his last two games so Fox Lodge know who the danger man will be. However, they also have Ian McGregor to cope with this time and the former Limavady opener, top scorer in both league wins, could yet prove to be the shrewdest signing at Sandel Lodge.

Although it is a double-header weekend for eight of the 10 top flight clubs, Brigade, the other team to have won their first two matches have only one match so can only sit and watch the Bannsiders’ progress tomorrow.

When the Beechgrove side return to action on Sunday it will be against Limavady. Indeed, the Roesiders will be the centre of attention this weekend because tomorrow they are away to Donemana in what promises to be a defining weekend for the other joint league champions.

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A key to Limavady’s season was that they completed the double over Donemana last season and, having lost their opening game of the season, they will be anxious to continue their winning sequence at The Holm.

A win over much-strengthened Brigade will be more difficult than last season but it the first serious league test of Mark Simpson side’s credentials after facile wins against Eglinton and Fox Lodge.


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